iPod. iPod. iPod. Music. Music. Music.
The four hour bus ride from Budva to Sarajevo left me sitting in my seat longing for music. The thought of listening to music consumed me as we weaved through the mountain roads, crossing the border and eventually ending up 12 km outside of Sarajevo proper.
I sat in the bus, laptop propped in the seat next to me, headphones on, as I tried to satiate my craving for tunes by plugging in to my computer and listening to the music I hadn’t deleted (accidentally, in Goreme) weeks earlier.
The bus stopped and I continued to stay seated, looking out the window at the small town around me.
There was no one left on the bus.
What the hell?
This couldn’t be Sarajevo. We seemed to be in a small town, not a pulsing city.
I looked outside. My ugly brown backpack that I had come to love was placed outside of the bus, alone on the ground.
Oh my God. Sarajevo?
I quickly threw my laptop in my bag and jumped off the empty bus.
“Sarajevo?” I asked the bus driver.
He nodded his head.
I thought back to the directions Hostel SA had given to get to them — there were two bus stop options, one in town and one outside of town. But this …?
I stepped of the bus, suited up in my travel gear and looked around.
I saw no bus stop to take me into the city. In fact, I saw little of anything.
Budget, screw you.
Along one road were a row of cabs and I walked up and grabbed one.
My driver was fantastic. He spoke English with me the entire drive to my hostel, explaining where we were, what I was looking at … the best cab driver I had the pleasure of being with since my arrival to Brasov so many months earlier (what now seemed like an entire lifetime).
He dropped me at SA and I entered into the guesthouse, taking off my shoes and piling them with the rest on the floor at the bottom of the steep stairs.
I met AK, who’s family owns SA, first. He walked me upstairs, showed me around and then informed me of a tour he offers nightly.
I had stayed at SA for a reason — the tour. It had rave reviews on Hostel World. I had been tight with my money, skipping out on most tourist things, but in Bosnia, with a history that fascinated me as much as it hurt my heart, money was not deal-breaker.
In fact, I spent more money in Bosnia and Hercegovina than I did in any other countries up to that point. It was my pleasure to spend money there, to give back to the country that so warmly welcomed me, that showed off its war wounds with its head held high, with its residents smiling kindly and eager to speak with me.
Sarajevo, within minutes, had won my heart.